Habits Don’t Work

Many of my clients come to me asking for help on their habits. But yet they are having a lot of trouble building and sustaining habits. What is going on here?

The habit gurus out there would have you think that habits are all you need to transform your life.

Just keep at it consistently and regularly for the required number of highly researched days and it’ll be burned into your system. Or if too hard, then break it into a smaller, more accessible chunks and build gradually to the full habit.

The concept is simple, but yet people still come to me for help after finding out it doesn’t work.

The big secret is that habits are only a single tool out of a large toolbox us coaches have. They are not the only tool, nor the first go-to tool.

And they may not be the right resolution for you.

The big thing that most people miss is not addressing the underlying motivations and blocks. Through coaching we need to inquire a bit first to see what is going on inside before selecting the right resolution.

It could be a habit forming process, or it could be something different entirely.

I had a client once who loved yoga pre-pandemic, but then the pandemic had her moving to a new city and when things began to reopen, she found a new yoga class but could not figure out why she was avoiding going to yoga class. She was getting frustrated that she was skipping calendar alerts, changing the time of day, trying different types of yoga, and even forcing herself to get out of bed in the morning all were not working.

A bit of coaching exploration found that in actuality, yoga as an activity was not the primary motivator for going to class. It was actually the regulars who attended the class itself. She enjoyed the interactions and friendships, and they would often go out to coffee afterwards. By moving to a new city, she had not yet built a new community at a yoga class and thereby was not motivated to go.

Once she discovered this, it gave her new-found energy to go find a yoga class where she could enjoy not only the class, but the instructor and the other attendees.


Just the removal of the underlying block. “Habit” created instantly. Voila!

Got a habit you’ve been trying to burn in and it’s not working? Post it in the comments and let’s see if we can figure out the right resolution for you!

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